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Urban Health Accelerator


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Francoise Marvel, MD, Corrie Health

photo of Francoise Marvel, MD, Corrie Health

Francoise Marvel, MD
Corrie Health
Baltimore, MD

Re-engineering heart attack discharge and recovery.

Saving lives, helping others, and transforming healthcare systems to build a culture of health for all has been part of my genome since birth. 

Before medical school I spent 4 years working with underserved minority patients in urban Miami, Florida to make an impact on empowering African-American, Haitian, and Latino urban communities to improve health outcomes and reduce risk behaviors.

In medical school I worked in an uninsured community health clinic to better understand and address healthcare system changes to connect patients with understanding about self-management, access, and prevention of chronic conditions.

In my first-year as an internal medicine resident, I again discovered a major gap in patient’s empowerment to self-manage their health conditions. The more engrained I became in healthcare delivery, the more I could empathize with them as information is typically shared by a group of white coats referring to multiple polysyllabic medication names and complex medical language with interspersed “remember not to do this and to do that.” The only written instructions came at the end hospitalization or clinic visit as paper-based generic print-outs and involved multiple handoffs in the final moments of the patient encounter, when patient engagement may be at its lowest level. It was clear that there was an opportunity for patients to become more actively involved in managing their healthcare if we did a better a job of engaging them, to learn about their medications, build skills, and to better prepare for leading a healthier life as they leave the medical care environment and go back to everyday life. 

As I continued to challenge the traditional patient engagement and healthcare delivery model to emphasize patient empowerment it was not only a professional goal, it had personal meaning as well. During my medical residency training, my father, a healthy 68-year old retired Air Force Officer and former military intelligence contractor was diagnosed with a rare rapidly progressive cardiovascular disease. My family and I experienced firsthand through my father’s healthcare experience the cardiac patient’s journey and challenges with understanding illness, gaps in empowerment, and fragmented medical care across systems. The was a pivotal experience for me to be challenged with one of healthcare’s biggest problems – lack of opportunity for patients to participate in their own healthcare self-management — that I understood from my years working at the population health level; with the patients and families I directly cared for in the hospital and clinic, and my own father. I started creating surveys and doing interviews with my father in the hospital and other patients to better understand patients experience in the hospital and at home with self-management for cardiovascular disease. Although my father passed away during the early stages of this project, he contributed to understanding the problems faced by cardiovascular patients, helped identify smartphones as a commonality among patients, and fueled my tremendous drive to create a solution. Many people may have given up at that point after losing a parent to heart disease – but instead I opted to push harder and persevere.  

While in residency I enrolled in Fellowships at Johns Hopkins in Technology Innovation and Patient Safety and Quality Improvement to help answer how I could solve this problem with digital technology. I started applying for funding and recruiting a team to prototype an app that was cross platform web-based approach to patient engagement medication adherence, physical activity, doctor’s appointments, education, and vital signs. I was eager to take this to the next level and getting this into the hands of patients -therefore I sought opportunities for expansion. Apple was interested in the early work we are doing in Cardiology with this patient empowerment app and invited us to Cupertino for a one-on-one project development week in Cupertino, California, which is where Corrie was created. Corrie is the solution to the problem I had identified years ago in my population urban health work, medical school training, residency, and with my father – to help address the need to put heart health in the hands of patients.

Thank you to the EmPOWERED To Serve Urban Health Accelerator™ in-kind sponsors for providing mentorship and access to technology: